British-Turkish relations after Brexit: Strategic partners?
As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, London is looking to develop bilateral relations with non-EU countries. Turkey was one of the countries identified as an important trade and strategic partner. British-Turkish relations are worth $16 billion and both countries have expressed the intension of increasing this figure to $20 billion. Both are NATO members and are part of the Global Coalition against ISIS. Just last year, a fighter jet deal was signed between Britain’s BAE Systems and the Turkish Aerospace Industries worth £100 million with the potential of additional contracts as the project develops. However, there are significant obstacles to closer relations. Turkey’s economy is in a downturn and there is heightenned concern about Turkey’s human rights record and its commitment to democracy and the rule of law. How can Britain balance its strategic and economic priorities while advocating the protection of human rights, democracy and civil liberties in Turkey? And as Turkey's economic trajectory is far from positive, have economic relations already peaked?
Bringing together prominent scholars, this panel focuses on the challenges, opportunities and pitfalls on the road to greater British-Turkish relations.
Yaprak Gursoy is a lecturer in politics and international relations at Aston University. Prior to this, she was an Associate Professor at Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey and a Visiting Academic at St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford, associated to South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX). She received her PhD in politics from the University of Virginia in 2008. She has worked on regime change and consolidation, democratization, civil-military relations and coup d’états. She has published numerous articles on these subjects, covering Turkish, Greek and other Southern European countries from a comparative perspective in edited volumes and peer reviewed journals. Her book, Between Military Rule and Democracy: Regime Consolidation in Greece, Turkey, and Beyond (University of Michigan Press, 2017), examines four episodes of authoritarianism, six periods of democracy and ten short-lived coups in Greece and Turkey. Her findings are based on more than 150 interviews conducted with the elites of both countries. In the book, she also applies her arguments to four more recent military interventions in Thailand and Egypt. She is currently researching populism and party politics from a comparative perspective.
Simon Waldman is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London, and Mercator-IPC Fellow at Istanbul Policy Center. He obtained his MA and PhD from the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, King's College London, having earlier read Politics and Sociology at Brunel University. Simon’s research focuses on international diplomacy towards the Middle East, statebuilding and leadership in the region, Turkish history and politics and the Arab-Israeli conflict from a historical perspective. He is the head of the Turkish Studies Research Group at King’s College London. Simon’s latest book isAnglo –American Diplomacy and the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Palgrave MacMillan), and he is the co-author of the forthcoming The New Turkey and its Discontents (Hurst and Oxford University Press, 2016).